AMD needs a better and faster CPU and there is no doubt that the 2.3GHz Phenom is not enough to regain AMD’s old glory. Everyone knows that Intel has a 3.0GHz Quad core that works and sells well, and it has 3.2GHz in the pipeline, which is far better than a Phenom at 2.3GHz.
As AMD doesn’t have a performance killer, the Halo effect is out of the picture, but at least with less than €190 for the 2.3GHz part it can fight Intel in this quad core price game. One of the focuses of the event where DAAMIT let almost a hundred selected press to benchmark Phenoms was to educate the world about the Platform and show us Platformance. It is not a typo, it is the term we came up with at the time of QuadFX.
We got the chance to benchmark the system powered with delayed Phenom 9700, 2.4GHz CPU powered with Gigabyte GA-MA790FX-DQ6, 790FX, 2GB memory, Vista and two Radeon HD3850s. Overall, the system runs really well but we don’t know how well it does versus Intel’s lowest priced Quad cores, and is probably a bit slower due to the slower clock.
We can tell you that the Spider platform includes an AMD 7x0 motherboard, a Phenom CPU and a Radeon 38x0 card (or a few of them) and that it works, looks and feels good. It is not the best thing around but it works nicely and gives you a lot of performance for the money. You can buy a Phenom CPU, high-end motherboard and a single Radeon 3850 card for about €600, which is not that much money, considering that you’ll get a machine that will be able to play all the games today and overclock both GPU and motherboard even in Windows with OverDrive.
The point is that you will be able to upgrade to future processors, as today you can plug Athlon X2 in socket AM2+ and later you can migrate to Phenom when it gets a decent speed; and later, Phenom 45 nanometer will work, at least the one with DDR2 memory controller. All of this should work at AMD 7x0 motherboards that are out today. Theoretically, you will have CPUs all the way to 2009 that will fit to the current Spider platform. AMD claims dominance and its all AND 7x0 series of chipsets has PCIe 2.0 and a great overclocking potential at low power consumption.
Radeon 38x0 cards are the second part of this platformance and you can plug one card today, and up to four cards in the future. This should give you the ability to increase your graphics performance dramatically in the future. Only a few people will do it, but at least the possibility is there.
This is the key message that AMD wants, and as we said a year ago when AMD acquired ATI, AMD wanted the stable chipset to be able to offer this platform to Dell, HP and other big players.
System integrators will also be interested in such a platform, and in retail we guess the Overdrive tool will help AMD teach the market why it should prefer AMD’s board over Nvidia’s.
AMD is slowly creating an Intel-like environment, whether they want to admit it or not, where they will push for their own products, such as chipsets and graphics, but support the other ones. Nvidia is doomed when it comes to chipsets, as now neither Intel nor AMD want Nvidia to be a dominant chipset player, and naturally AMD prefers to sell its own graphics rather than Nvidia’s.
In the long term, Spider will cause huge problems for Nvidia as Nvidias will become Persona non grata in a very tiny market.
AMD will fight Intel’s regime with another regime, as in reality it is not that one is good and the other is bad; it is more like they are both gray, but one is brighter than the other.